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Available for local and destination weddings and portrait sessions.  Each project is different, so contact me for an exact quote.  Portrait sessions start at $300 and wedding coverage begins at $3,000.  Typical wedding fees are about $5,000 - Send an email to me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Differences Between Gary Fong Lightsphere and Whaletail

One of the questions I most often hear, regarding Gary Fong light diffusers is: "What's the difference between the Lightsphere and the Whaletail?"

Both the Lightsphere and the Whaletail are flash diffusers -- they are designed to soften the light of hotshoe mounted flashes. In many ways, they provide studio quality light -- without the studio.

The first Lighsphere was a hard plastic, translcent body with an external (convex) dome -- a bubble top -- that snapped on the top. It offered a wonderful, soft light, but it was bit heavy, it was difficult to get a perfect fit, and the external dome sometimes stuck out beyond the lens hood, and created lens flare. Still, it was like nothing else available, and allowed many photographers to acheive results never before seen outside of the studio (or without using large lightstands, umbrellas or softboxes). In that sense, it was revolutionary.

Original Lightsphere

I'm not certain when they were first realesed, but I bought mine sometime in 2002 or 2003. In the Fall of 2005, Gary Fong replaced the original Lightsphere with a pliable, vinyl version. Interestingly enough, both the original and the replacement were called the Lightsphere II. In fact, Gary had been developing light diffusers for his own use for several years, so what we now call the 'original Lightsphere' was actually in a chain of evolution that still continues.

The 2005 model came in two versions: Clear (photojournalist) and Cloud (portrait). Both had 'photojournalist' embossed on them because they came from the same molds with only the color of the vinyl changing. The Clear was a transparent vinyl, while the Cloud was translucent.

Cloud (L) & Clear (R) Lightspheres

There were two major design changes in the '05 models. First, the top fitting dome was changed from convex to concave: It now fitted inside the body of the Lightsphere -- and was called the Inverted Dome. It was a hard plastic, frisbee looking device and was translucent. It was the same color dome for both the Clear and the Cloud Lightsphere. The second change was in the way the Lightsphere attached to the body of the flash. It came in four sizes and had a combination of different size ribs that gripped the flash much like a swim fin fits your foot. This solved most of the fit problems without the use of any adapters or gaskets.

Gary Fong was a wedding photographer for twenty years. He was a well know speaker and instructor, within the photography industry and the primary users of his Lightspheres were other professional photographers -- especially wedding photographers. These new Clear and Cloud Lightspheres were so popular, that by the beginning of 2007, there were over 90,000 in use, worlwide.

In March of 2007, at the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) annual conference in Las Vegas, Gary introduced a new flash diffuser called the Whaletail. Readers of Gary's blog were anticipating this release for months as Gary presented preliminary drawing for 3-4 months, before the official introduction.


The demand, on the conference floor, was so great that he immediately sold out his entire inventory and it was months before he could catch up with the demand. Even at this writing, there are sometimes shortages. New manufacturing capacity is expected to come online this Fall (2007).

The Whaletail is not a replacement for the Lightsphere. In fact, the Gary Fong Lightsphere is still the top seller. However, the Gary Fong Whaletail is more versatile than the Lightsphere. While the Lightsphere has one opening -- on the top -- and you can either have it open, or covered by the internal dome, the Whaletail has two openings. One is on the top, and the other is on the back -- or on the front. This is completly up the the user. Many flashes swivel 180 degrees, so it is very easy to change the position of the second opening. Since the Whaltail is attached to the flash with a hook & loop (Velcro) cinch strap, if your flash does not swivel, it is a simple matter to take it off, turn it around, and reattach the diffuser.

Studio (L) & Reporter (R) Whaletail Light Diffusers

Instead of a snap on cap (dome), the Whaletail uses two hinged flaps. These flaps can be adjusted to any setting between fully open and fully closed. This means that the photographer can vary the ratio of direct light to bounced or diffused light, giving a wide range of creative lighting contrtol. The Whaletail comes in two sizes: The smaller Reporter and the larger Studio. Both are made of a translucent white plastic.

If you are reading this, you are probably a photographer, and will appreciate pictures over words, so I made a short video, showing the Lightsphere and the Whaletail models.

One mistake that I made on the video -- I say that the Whaletail will fit any rectangular flash up to 2x3 inches. In fact, it will fit up to 2x3.5 inches.

Search for Gary Fong Light Diffusers

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gary Fong Lightsphere - Difference between Cloud & Clear

Gary Fong makes two versions of his popular Lightsphere flash diffuser: Cloud and Clear. So frequently do I get asked what the differences are, that I decided to make a little video to explain it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Flash Diffuser for Pop-Up Flash

I always have a camera nearby, but I don't always want to drag out external flashes and diffusers, if it's not a 'job'. For family gatherings, a walk in the park, or just when I see a shot that I want to grab, sometimes I'm left with only the camera's pop-up flash. In most cases, that little light bar is too harsh, and I just prefer not to use it.

Well, Gary Fong has changed all that with the Puffer. The Gary Fong Puffer is a small diffuser that slides into the camera's hot-shoe and converts it into a serviceable flash for those moments when you don't have other options.

It won't fit every camera, but if your camera has a standard hot-shoe right behind the pop-up flash, you are in business.

Take a look.

The Puffer

Sunday, September 23, 2007

How to Make Money with Your Camera

Have you often wondered if you could be a professional photographer?

Would you like to make some extra cash from part-time work with your camera?

Are you a working pro who would like to add additional income streams?

Do you simply want your photography hobby to pay for itself?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then we have good news for you.

I've searched the internet for the best opportunities for both amateur and pro photographers who want to increase their income while doing what they love.

I've done most of the hard work for you, but not every opportunity is suitable to every photographer, but we are sure that you will save time and money by reviewing what we have discovered. Check back, often, as new ideas are added as we discover them. Not all will make a lot of money - some will just make you a better photographer.

Today's feature is:

How To Photograph A Wedding. - Wedding Photography Techniques For Photographers. Photographing A Wedding, Find Out The Secrets Of A Professional. Includes Events And Groups.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Attaching a Gary Fong Whaletail Flash Diffuser to Your Flash

In the previous post, we answered an email question from Frank about attaching a Gary Fong Lightsphere flash diffuser to his Canon 580EX. In this post, we answer a voice mail question from John. He wants to know how to attach a Gary Fong Whaletail flash diffuser to his Nikon SB-800.

I hope this helps.

Attaching the Gary Fong Lightsphere to Your Flash

I received an email from Frank:

" Hi - Saw .... diffuser at a wedding this weekend. Did not disturb the photographer but I am interested in how this attaches to my flash and how the unit holds together. Can you help me or direct me to a location on your site?


Good question, Frank. There is a tutorial DVD that comes with the Gary Fong Lightsphere, but if you haven't purchased, yet, that doesn't help you :-)

So, I made a quick video to demonstrate how to attach the Gary Fong Lightsphere, and also show some of its accessories. Hope this helps.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Amazing Movie Made From Still Photos

Do you ever go to the dictionary or encyclopedia to look up something and end up looking at dozens of other entries?

Yourtube is something like that. Today, someone sent me a link to a video on the Gary Fong Lightsphere. I went to look at it and found that the creator had links to several other 'movies'. One was to a series of movies from a South American photographer named Martin Crespo.

To quote Martin:

"This is my first short movie, done entirely with photo sequences from my Nikon D50, with non professional actors, original soundtrack and ambient sound (masterized). Three days "filming" (15.000 photos) and 2 months in the editing room and reconstructing the sound."

In other words, he created a movie just from still photographs - 15,000 ofthem!

I'll post the Trailer to his movie, but you should go to his youtube page and see his other work.

OPACO (trailer)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On locatiion Shoot with Gary Fong Whaletail Flash Diffusers

Last week, I had an on location job. I took a couple of Gary Fong Whaletails, so I made three videos to show what I took, and how I used them. The first explains what I had to take prior to using small flashes. It then shows what I use, now.

Parts 2 and 3 give more detail on how I lit the subjects and shows some samples.

The original videos are posted on youtube. Youtube is a great concept, but there isn't much production value. I capture the video with an elderly analog Hi8. I then convert to analog into video and import it to a MAC Mini. From there, I use iMovie to put the video clips and stills together. The result is a rather grainy and out of focus looking production -- I hope you can get some information from them!!

Part #1

Part #2

Part #3

Monday, September 17, 2007

Model Photo Session Using Gary Fong Whaletail Flash Diffuser

I get lots of questions about how to use the Gary Fong Whaletail flash diffusers to replace studio lights.

This video demonstrates the use of two Whaletails -- a Reporter size and the larger Studio size -- in a simple two-light studio setup. The session takes place in an apartment living room. Only about a 10 foot wide area was necessary - in order to allow for a simple black muslin backdrop.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Since the last post, and accompanying video, dealt with shutter speed, I figured I'd better complete the discussion about exposure by making a video about aperture.

The aperture is the opening in the lens. The wider the opening, the more light that will be recorded on your film or digital sensor.

Take a look at the video, and the one of shutter speed. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Shutter Speeds

While this may seem pretty basic, I often get questions on what shutter speed and aperture are -- and how they relate to exposure - and to each other.

Shutter Speed is the time that the shutter remains open, when you press the shutter release button.

Exposure is determined by the combination of how long the shutter is open, and the size the lens aperture (opening).

Shutter speeds can range from one second (even longer if you have a B [bulb] option) to 1/4000th of a second on most prosumer cameras and higher on pro level cameras.

If you are shooting fast moving action, you will want to use faster settings. In low light, you will use longer settings, and may even need to put the camera on a tripod.

Here is a quick video demo of shutter speeds.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Camera Settings for the Gary Fong WhaleTail Light Diffuser

I got this email over the Labor Day Weekend.

It occured to me that other might have a similar question, so I made a quick video.

The Question:

I was checking on your site for settings and suggestions for owners of the Whaletail and a Canon 400D (XTi). I recently received my Whaletail and am enjoying playing around with it; but I am experiencing some lighting issues. I own two lenses. One is the Canon 1.8 50mm and the other is the Canon 17-85 EF-S f4-5.6.

The manual states to put the camera on Aperture Priority and set the F-Stop from 2.8 to 4.0, with an ISO of 400 to 800. Problem is that only one of my two lenses even goes that low, and that's my 50mm. I'm also noticing that my camera, even on program mode, dips below a flash shutter speed of 1/60.

This means I get a bit of blur, sometimes a lot of blur. I'm sure most of the purchasers of this product are professionals and have fully professional equipment. I'm still learning my XTi and I know it isn't professional grade and neither is my 17-85mm lens. yet, I have a suspicion there is a way to make this all work right even with my limited equipment.

Can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks! Kelly

The Answer: